Support the Federal Restoration of the Chinook Indian Nation

Sign this petition to urge Congress and the President to assist the Chinook Indian Nation in the fight for the Restoration of their Federal Recognition status.

I am asking today that you support the Chinook Indian Nation?s effort in restoring their Federal Recognition status.

Since time immemorial, the Chinook People have inhabited what is now SW Washington and NW Oregon. Chinook words (Tyee, Ilahee, Skookum) and history permeate our Nation?s story and geography. In 1805, the Chinook People sheltered Lewis and Clark after finding them on the shores of the Columbia River in Washington State. Randal MacDonald - a Chinook - was the first American to teach English in Japan. The salmon, helicopter and even the winds are named after these great people, yet the Chinook Indian Nation remains unrecognized by the U.S. Government.

The U.S. signed the Dart (1851) and the Stevens (1855) Treaties with the Chinook Indians, but Congress did not ratify either treaty. The only basis for termination of Federal Recognition was the naming of four tribes in the Chinook Indian Nation in the Western Oregon Termination Act of 1954, an act created to assimilate Indians into the White culture. After years of petitioning, the BIA reinstated the Chinook Indian Nation in 2001. Six months later, under a new administration, the BIA revoked the Nation?s because another tribe protested. The U.S. Government did not give the Chinooks a chance to appeal the reversal.

The Chinook People lost their historic lands on the Columbia River and Willapa Bay as great number of their ancestors succumbed to poverty and disease in the 19th century. Despite this and the decades of neglect by the U.S., the Chinook people have survived and maintained their community, culture and language - Chinook Wawa.

There are six criteria for restoration of a tribe by the Congress, which include:

1. Ongoing, identifiable community of Indians who are members or descendants of the Tribe;

2. Located in the vicinity of the former reservation;

3. Performing self-governing functions through elected representatives or general membership meetings;

4. Current use of aboriginal language, customs and culture;

5. Marked deterioration in socioeconomic conditions of members since termination; and

6. Socioeconomic conditions of members are more severe than in adjacent rural areas or other comparable areas within the State.

The Chinook Indian Nation meets all six of these requirements.

To assist the Chinook Indian Nation, I am asking you to request a copy of the letter concerning the history of the Chinook Indian Nation written by Mr. Stanley Speaks, Regional Director of the BIA's office in Portland, Oregon. Per policy, the Chinook Indian Nation cannot directly ask for the letter from the BIA, but your office can. This letter from Director Speaks contains a historical account of the Chinook Indian Nation?s conversations with the U.S. Government. Starting before termination, it contains all of the interaction between the BIA and the Chinook Indian Nation. This is vital in validating the Nation's request for restoration.

Thank you for your assistance.